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Author Topic: A Friendly Discussion: Eastwood Directs / Eastwood Stars  (Read 3686 times)
Jed Cooper
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« on: December 30, 2015, 07:15:45 AM »

This topic is open to any and all who care to discuss the differences and similarities between the films Eastwood has starred in and the ones he has directed only.  We can even delve deeper and compare the starring vehicles he didn’t direct to the ones he did as well.

Do you prefer viewing Eastwood movies that he stars in or the ones he directs only?  Do you gravitate towards either or both for repeated viewings and if so, why?  To add to the pot, since it is unlikely Clint will star again, is there a particular genre you’d like to see him tackle that he hasn’t as yet as director only? 

Now, this is not meant to create any hard feelings and certainly not intended as a debate.  Not in any way, shape or form.  Of course, there will be differences of opinions and disagreements which is perfectly natural and such discussion is welcome.  We’re all adults and can agree to disagree.   

Clint began his career as an actor and like many struggled for years before being discovered.  He landed a pivotal role in one of televisions’ longest running westerns, Rawhide.  It was during this time he starred as The Stranger (or The Man With No Name…or “Joe”…) in A Fistful Of Dollars.  With the success of that Leone collaboration came two sequels, cementing him as an international star.  Before long he had a string of hit movies before becoming an icon in the role of Dirty Harry. 

Eastwood proved to be a competent director at the outset with Play Misty For Me.  His first non-starring project was Breezy, starring William Holden and Kay Lenz.  For many years (nearly four decades), he would direct himself more often than not with only an occasional directing/non-starring project.  Academy Award success eventually (finally!) followed with Unforgiven, Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby. 

The days of Eastwood starring vehicles are very few and far between but there are certainly no flies on Mr. Eastwood.  He continues to produce very interesting, thought provoking and entertaining films nearly every year, adding to his unique and impressive Hollywood resume.  It is truly unlike any other and I will go so far as to say I doubt it is or will be matched.



« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 11:10:27 AM by Jed (Brian) Cooper » Logged

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Matt
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2015, 11:54:44 AM »

Good idea for a thread.

There are movies that Clint appears in that I can barely sit through. There are movies of his that he directed but didn't star in that are masterpieces.

He's a two time Academy Award winning director, and a two time Academy Award nominated actor. And for those who know his work, he's respected equally as both, if not slightly more as a director.

That being said, I can almost see the "In Memoriam" clip in my mind that they'll put together for him on that awful Academy Awards program the year following his death (and lets hope it's a long time from now).  I imagine it will be a two parter... opening with him in the poncho, and the whistle from GBU "Such ingratitude, after all the times I've saved your life", cutting to Dirty Harry with his 44 magnum on the bank robber "I know what you're thinking....", showing us his most iconic moments first, then his lighthearted moments as Philo Beddoe (complete with Clyde), and then clicking to Unforgiven and his winning nomination for Director and then the list of his directing achievements:  Play Misty for Me, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Bridges of Madison County, Mystic River, Letters from Iwo Jima.

He's both equally an iconic actor and one of the greatest directors of all time. How will most people remember him? As Dirty Harry or The Man With No Name. The average person won't remember him as Wes Block or Mitchell Gant... that's for more hardcore fans. As for his directing, many will remember that he directed a few movies that he won awards for -- maybe they'll remember one was Unforgiven. Film fans will think of him equally as both an actor and director.

I personally prefer some of the movies he directed and didn't star in to those that he did star in and didn't direct. Take Letters from Iwo Jima (I rated it an A earlier this week) and compare it to Every Which Way But Loose, a well-known favorite, or Joe Kidd, or even the final Dirty Harry film The Dead Pool. These are all well-known and I'm not scraping the bottom of the barrel (I didn't say Paint Your Wagon or City Heat after all), but it's not JUST Clint's acting that makes a film successful. When you put Clint in the director's seat, the film is being lead by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time... it's elevated (not to say you can't still have an occasional misfire, like Firefox).

So based on the merits of his work as both an actor and a director, I'd have to rate the films individually:

Favorite Clint films that he directs and also appears in:  Unforgiven with The Outlaw Josey Wales coming up 2nd (both with 5 stars).

Favorite Clint films that he appears in but doesn't direct:  The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with Dirty Harry coming up 2nd (both with 5 stars).

Worst movies Clint directed and appeared in: The Rookie with Firefox coming up 2nd (both with 1 or 1.5 stars)

Worst movies Clint appeared in and didn't direct:  Paint Your Wagon with City Heat coming up 2nd (both with 1 or 1.5 stars)

Worst movies Clint directed and didn't appear in:  Flags of Our Fathers (rated B- recently, which would translate to 2.5 stars, I suppose).

I would like to give a better answer for the last one, but I have five of his directed-only films still left to watch. Breezy isn't a failure of a film, the way I judge Flags to be. Breezy was indeed "Breezy", light and sweet... nothing meant to be meaningful or heavy. Whereas I thought Flags tackled serious subject matter that should have had a strong emotional punch, and didn't. Therefore, I found it to be a failure.  And I do realize that's subjective, since many people were moved by Flags, but I found it dull.

So there you have it. I'm thrilled that Clint still sits in the director's chair, even if he doesn't want to act anymore. If he acts again, I hope it's a Western. You're never too old for a Western role.



« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 04:18:06 PM by Matt » Logged
Jed Cooper
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2015, 12:54:15 PM »

I thought I'd post these for those who don't easily recall which is which:

Films Clint Eastwood starred in but did not direct

Films Clint Eastwood directed & starred in

Films Clint Eastwood has directed but not starred in 

Films Clint Eastwood appeared in but not as the star

The last one I included more or less for fun.  Of course, it can be argued Clint wasn't the "star" of films like Where Eagles Dare, Paint Your Wagon, Two Mules For Sister Sara and A Perfect World, but I have included them as such because he had second billing and/or was one of the major stars of said film. 

I've yet to update the "has directed but not starred in" topic with American Sniper and if I don’t do so soon may wait until I’ve seen Sully.

I hope this helps.

   

 



« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 12:58:36 PM by Jed [Brian] Cooper » Logged

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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2015, 05:42:42 AM »

I'll begin with the films Clint Eastwood starred in but did not direct.  The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and Dirty Harry are my favorites, as outlined here:  What are your personal favorite top 2 Clint Easwood films?

The Leone films still stand as my favorite Eastwood films, with Dirty Harry running a very close second, if not a tie.  If I were to have a Clint Eastwood movie marathon, I'd choose the spaghetti westerns and first three Dirty Harry films.  It was my discovery of these two legendary and iconic characters that piqued my curiosity and lead me to becoming a fan of Eastwood's movies.

As for my least favorite, they are Paint Your Wagon and Pink Cadillac.  I haven't seen the former in quite a long time and not keen on returning to it anytime soon.  I got a chuckle upon first seeing Clint sing in Honkytonk Man (a film I've since come to appreciate very much) but laughed out loud at seeing him sing in Paint Your Wagon.  This is one of the very few films that made me wonder, "What were they thinking?"  I haven't bothered watching the latter in years, either, but will check it out again someday.  If anything, Bernadette Peters makes it a guilty pleasure because she's such a doll. 

 

 
 
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 07:44:49 AM by Jed [Brian] Cooper » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2015, 11:58:10 AM »

Now onto the films Clint Eastwood directed and starred in.  Out of these, my favorites are High Plains Drifter and Unforgiven.  Both of these are just plain fantastic.  Clint’s character in High Plains Drifter resembles my favorite from the Leone trilogy so that was easy.  Unforgiven is just all around great; acting, writing, directing, everything.  A great cast and story.  Both of these are easy to return to for repeated viewings.  Always enjoyable.  It doesn’t hurt that both of these happen to be my favorite genre as well.

As for my least favorite, they are Firefox and A Perfect World.  If Firefox were a shorter film, I would dislike it less.  I did not care for this film upon first seeing it and it took me many a year to fully appreciate this movie.  It will, however, always hold a special place in my heart as it was the first film released that I’d seen on the big screen after becoming a true fan.  While A Perfect World is a good film, I felt the same way after first seeing it as well.  Out of the films Eastwood has directed and stars in, these two are the least likely candidates for repeated viewings.  That’s not to say they’re not good films.  They are.  It’s just that to me, they’re not as entertaining as the others.  Still, they’re good for a rainy day.   

 

 
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2015, 11:59:41 AM »

The films Clint Eastwood directed but did not star in.  Out of his films, I watch these the least.  It is because he is associated with them that I even bother.  They are the least likely that I consider viewing again, but I have given most another chance and will eventually get around to watching the rest a second time with an opened mind.

The ones I have enjoyed the most are Mystic River and Jersey Boys.  I found these to be the most entertaining and like seeing them again.  As for the rest, they are all very good and interesting movies.  They are well made and very well directed.  All of the actors come across very convincingly in their roles.  I will always prefer movies Clint has acted in over the ones he hasn’t.  The one possible exception to this rule is Paint Your Wagon.  Then again, after another viewing my opinion may change on that film, too.  Most of these are far better films with superior quality than the musical but they still lack the one saving grace it has on screen: Clint Eastwood.

Breezy and Bird are the least likely candidates for a repeat viewing anytime soon.  That’s not to say I won’t ever watch them again.  I know I will.  Perhaps I’ll come away with some kind of appreciation for them, as I did with Hereafter.  I honestly didn’t think that would happen because I disliked it so after first viewing.  I’m sure that’s because I came away with such a negative view on Invictus that I expected the worst.  I was glad to see I was proven wrong about movies Eastwood directs but does not star not only with J. Edgar, but with each subsequent film.  Sully looks promising and I’m looking forward to seeing it.
 

 
 
 
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2016, 09:41:31 PM »

Quote
Do you prefer viewing Eastwood movies that he stars in or the ones he directs only?  Do you gravitate towards either or both for repeated viewings and if so, why?

I don't have a preference. He's obvious appeared in more films than he's only directed but as soon as I see he making another film, my first question isn't, "Is Clint in it?" It's when will it be released.

That's why I've gotten annoyed the last few years when we hear about a new project and some comments here on the board before a roll of film has started rolling how disappointing they are that Clint is making this film and not something else.

This is what I said in the Sully thread.

I can't believe all the negativity surrounding what film Clint might make next. If I hear Clint is in talks or something official is announced, I'm not asking what type of film is it, I just can't wait for it to be released.

For the last 6 or 7 years it seems to be a trend on this board though. I mean everyone is entitled to their opinion but it is always very negative when it comes to what Clint is doing next or might do. If it was announced tomorrow that Clint was making a documentary of the life of an ant, I wouldn't care. The man has just turned 85 and is still working and giving us much entertainment.

It's the same with how much money his films make. American Sniper raked it in but his last few before that didn't, I couldn't care less. As long as he keeps making films, I'm happy.
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2016, 02:37:27 PM »

This is a great idea for a thread. I get excited about seeing any movie that Eastwood is involved with, but I personally prefer movies Eastwood acts in to movies which he only directs. Movies in which he acts are much more likely candidates for repeat viewings for me as well. Clint has already done pretty much every genre, but if there were one that I'd like to see him tackle, it would be a big budget epic style movie. What would Eastwood's version of that be? He usually does small, character driven stories, and I usually do prefer those types of movies, but I think it would be interesting to see Clint lend his talent to that kind of movie. This is extremely unlikely to ever happen since I think that's the genre Clint prefers the least, but that's the only genre of movie I don't think he's ever done, and I'd like to see what kind of story he'd pick and how he'd direct that type of film.
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2016, 06:57:02 PM »

Clint has already done pretty much every genre, but if there were one that I'd like to see him tackle, it would be a big budget epic style movie. What would Eastwood's version of that be? He usually does small, character driven stories, and I usually do prefer those types of movies, but I think it would be interesting to see Clint lend his talent to that kind of movie. This is extremely unlikely to ever happen since I think that's the genre Clint prefers the least, but that's the only genre of movie I don't think he's ever done, and I'd like to see what kind of story he'd pick and how he'd direct that type of film.

Hmmm ... here's one that's ripe for a remake, or maybe it's just ripe:

Sign of the Pagan



Just caught it in the Douglas Sirk retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Whom would Clint cast as Attila, do you think?  :D
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2016, 09:08:45 PM »

This is a great idea for a thread. I get excited about seeing any movie that Eastwood is involved with, but I personally prefer movies Eastwood acts in to movies which he only directs. Movies in which he acts are much more likely candidates for repeat viewings for me as well. Clint has already done pretty much every genre, but if there were one that I'd like to see him tackle, it would be a big budget epic style movie. What would Eastwood's version of that be? He usually does small, character driven stories, and I usually do prefer those types of movies, but I think it would be interesting to see Clint lend his talent to that kind of movie. This is extremely unlikely to ever happen since I think that's the genre Clint prefers the least, but that's the only genre of movie I don't think he's ever done, and I'd like to see what kind of story he'd pick and how he'd direct that type of film.

Thanks, AKA23.  Yes, the sign of a very good to great movie is repeated viewings.  Speaking for myself, none of the films Clint has directed in but did not star has that quality because he's just not in the same class as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.  Again, that's just my opinion.  While I continue to be curious about upcoming Eastwood projects, the only ones that I get excited about are the ones he stars in.
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2016, 01:20:06 AM »

Quote from: KC
Just caught it in the Douglas Sirk retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Whom would Clint cast as Attila, do you think?  :D

Its really hard to get in somebody else's head, but I think Clint might see Arnold or Sly doing a mature Attila successfully.

Cheez, I just thought of Clint being Attila at a prime time in Clint's acting days. Wow.


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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2016, 02:13:30 AM »

Yes, Schwarzenegger, possibly, though when he was a bit younger. Clint, I'm not so sure about. He was never the type to be the leader of hordes of men.
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2016, 02:54:59 AM »

Yes, Schwarzenegger, possibly, though when he was a bit younger. Clint, I'm not so sure about. He was never the type to be the leader of hordes of men.

That's an extremely interesting observation that I never thought of before. Clint has consistently portrayed a character that is not active in trying to jack anybody else around (pretty much), but is just trying to survive and have some satisfaction with living a life, and do what he sees to be reasonable without trying to bother or control very many other people. Now, as a director, he is making films that show that same attitude.

Like the novelty singer Ray Stevens once said in one of his Christmas songs, "Hey, man, don't bug me! I'm pullin' this sled s fast as I can!"

"Don't tread on me." That may be a big clue to his popularity as a public figure. "You don't make no trouble, and there won't be no trouble."  Kind of a likeable motto for his acting and directing.


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